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Teaching Moon Phases

I guess science has been on my mind lately. I believe it's called Science Olympiad, and I'm in charge of it. Anyway, I promise to return to my usual literacy state of mind with the next post, but before I do, let's take a moment to look at some incredible resources for teaching moon phases. From a great music resource I dub my new favorite, instructions on making a Moon Phase Transporter, fun with Strep cookies, and (I'm not humble) an Oscar worthy performance in our latest class video, I've got your back on lesson plans. 

Let's Go to the Moon!: Video Fun with CrazyTalk

First, please enjoy this three minute clip on moon phases. It teaches moon phase names through a story. There are only two students for this production. One student is the astronaut and the other student completes the voice of the animated moon. 

Quick Summary- A girl earns a new job (New Moon), where she is asked to wax the crescent (Waxing Crescent).  Her boss is pleased and she earns her first quarter (First Quarter). Her next job is to wax the gibbous (Waxing Gibbous). Again, the boss is pleased so she earns her first full paycheck (Full Moon). Then she gets lazy. She begins to wane the gibbous (Waning Gibbous), so the boss says, "You're fired. This is your last quarter. Finish the job and leave." (Last Quarter). She wanes the crescent before leaving to find a new job (Waning Crescent).

Make Your Own Moon Phase Transporter

The cool name counts. These are the materials needed:

~8 ping-pong balls. ~a large foam poster-board

~8 medium screws

~ a box cutter

~strong flashlight (to represent the sun).

~ The "sun" is optional but can be placed on a ruler.

Directions:Find the center of the board and strategically place 8 balls around in a circle. You can have a glueless route by sticking screws upward and pushing balls in them. Mine is very secure. Once that is completed, cut a circle in the middle for viewing.

You are now ready for the viewing. Using one student to hold the flashlight, two to hold the board, and one student to get into the moon phase transporter, you can visually see the moon phases lighting from the flashlight. For example, below I can see the New Moon and Waxing Crescent. The student, not the board, turns around to see the phases. Rotate students out, if you have time.


This student sees the New Moon and Waxing Crescent from this angle.


 All the cool kids are wearing it.


My view of the New Moon using the Moon Phase Transporter.


Note- The toothpick signs are not needed. In fact, they may block lighting from the flashlight.

Music Jackpot: My New Favorite Music Resource

I felt like I hit jackpot when I found this site-www.songsofhigherlearning.com. Jackpot. You should visit this site shortly after posting something nice on the blog.

And now that song will be stuck in your head for the entire weekend. Maybe more. It's 6 days and counting for me.Downloaded songs include The American Revolution, fractions, moon phases, health, government...too many to list. Lyrics can be downloaded for free and individual songs are 99 cents. 

Strep Cookies and Foam Plates That Are Bad for Our Planet 

So, here are two quick ideas. I believe the Oreo is a staple for teaching moon phases. The day we used the Oreos, only 16 students were present. Strep was going around. I offered fresh, un-Strep cookies after the job was completed. Strep cookies went to the trash after a moment under the camera.


What do you do with foam plates given during the last classroom party? At least it is a teaching tool.


Because There is So Much More

And a blog can only go on for so long, so I am adding my direct link to our moon phase page at school. It includes a video from last year, a PowerPoint slide show of the moon phases this month, and I even threw in a clip from Sesame Street (Don't Want to Live on the Moon). It is not blocked at my school, so I played this as students came in the room for my personal trip back in time.

More Moon Resources: www.bar.rcs.k12.tn.us/teachers/moon.html

Best to you,




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Angela Bunyi


I contacted the web site and found out they were switching out the look of the site. All should be back up today and running.

Movie Tools

I used two media tools to make the moon video.

1) ULead Video Studio was used for the green screen effects. You simply shoot the film in front of a green screen (green or blue butcher paper will work) and import into the program on the second movie box.
On the first movie box, you import the background you want. It can be a picture OR video background.
Clicking on the green screen video, an option will come up that says "Chroma Key". When you click on that to be applied...voila! It magically transports your class to somewhere else.

*I do have details on this under "Quick Links"- look under September for more details and photo directions.

2) CrazyTalk 5.1 was used for the animated moon. It is so easy to use that my students can do it 100% without me. I highly recommend this fun. Look under my article- Movie Making Tips in the Classroom for more details on this program (also under "Quick Links").

Overall, I would recommend the two and time just to play around with them. That is how I learn most of my tech. "stuff"....

Happy Friday!

Angela Bunyi


The costume comes from a morning announcement skit we completed last year. It was the cheapest looking astronaut costume I have ever seen, but that is what made it even funnier for school announcements. The space helmet came from Party City...although I have seen it many other places (ranging from DisneyWorld to Halloween stores).

Hope that helps...

Joe P.

Great movie about the moon cycles. Where did you get the great costume for your astronaut?


Sherri B.

Hey Angela,

I loved your blog about the moon phases. I will be using lots of your ideas! I downloaded a couple of songs from the site that you recommended but can’t seem to find where to get the lyrics? Can you point me in the right direction? Also, I was wondering how you did the “visuals” when you made your movie on teacher tube. I am really not so tech-savvy but we have amazing new technology and I want to use it more. Do you use a program to create your movies? Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Sherri Bonner

North Branch Elementary

North Branch, Michigan

Fourth Grade

Comments are closed. Please see Classroom Solutions, our new blog for the 2009-2010 school year. And stay tuned for Teaching Matters with Angela Bunyi and Beth Newingham.

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